Fantastic Realism

853 artworks, 18 artists
Fantastic realism spun off into a separate painting style in the second half of the 20th century in Austria. The trend with a paradoxical name formed at the Vienna Academy of Arts, thus the second name of the art movement is the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism. Young artists, students of the Academy, presented their works at the painting exhibition in Vienna in 1948 and became the founding fathers of the style that is still developing and popular.

After the end of World War II, society was tired of the shocks, and art lovers were tired of the simplified, ambitious and sketchy works by abstract artists. There was a request for the beauty and complexity of painting technique, image recognizability and depth of meanings. Moreover, the technological progress struck the imagination and made life easier, though it by no means gave answers to “the eternal questions”. The new art trend illustrated the growing interest in science fiction, occultism, spiritualism, astrology, philosophy, and the secrets of the universe. In the late 1960s, fantastic realism became the foundation for the Visionary art style, based on the images seen in a state of trance, meditation or being on psychotropic drugs.

Fantastic realism became the “younger brother” of surrealism and absorbed the traditions and techniques of the German Renaissance, GothicArt Nouveau and expressionism. Images of the subjects and objects, although not very accurate, were carefully drawn within the canons of traditional realism and uniquely recognizable. The colour palette has become more rigorous – some works could surprise with the bright and unnatural colours, others were rather gloomy and mysterious. But regardless of the complexity or naivety of the picture, one thing was unchanged: the obligatory implication. At the very first glance at the canvas, the viewer had to feel like a child enchanted by a terrible fairy tale, be sure to become interested in the ideas and the inner world of the artist, think about the multi-layered narrative and transience of life, feel fear and anxiety. The subjects included mysticism, religion, mythology, philosophy and the desire to penetrate the hidden areas of the human soul. Beautiful nudes and fantastic monsters, people and mythological characters, religious symbols and mystifications coexisted in the paintings. Art reflected the development of the physical world development, and enriched it with the aesthetics and diversity of the other world. At the same time, one can notice multiple clichés: bizarre landscapes, multidimensional perspectives, fantastic or folklore subjects, superficially depicted scientific achievements and fantastic ideas. The art of fantastic realism appealed to the two human senses: vision and intuition.

Significant artworks of fantastic realism:
Eva-Christina”, 1962, “Adam Mysticus”, 1982, “David and Bathsheba”, 1990 by Ernst Fuchs, “Death”, 1977, “Erotomechanics”, 1979,“Portrait of Barbara”, 1983, by Hans Rudolph Giger.

Fantastic realism artists:
the founders of the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism Ernst Fuchs, Arik Brauer, Wolfgang Hutter, Rudolf Hausner, Anton Lehmden. No less famous are Hans Rudi Giger, Jacek Yerka, Mike Whelan, Peter Gric, Giorgio de Chirico, Georgia O’Keefe.